Rescued Scottish shipyard gets order for hybrid ferry

MV Hallaig MV Hallaig

SEPTEMBER 29, 2014 — A Scottish shipyard has won its first newbuilding order since being bought from bankruptcy administrators earlier this month by private equity investor Clyde Blowers.

Scottish Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today announced that government owned Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) is placing a £12.3 million contract for a  third hybrid ferry with Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd (FMEL) on the River Clyde.

The Scottish Government investment will secure jobs for around 80 people in the Port Glasgow and Inverclyde area, many of whom were employees of the shipyard's previous owner, Ferguson Shipbuilding, and worked on the first two hybrid ferries.

The new vessel is expected to be launched in spring 2016, before entering service in the autumn of 2016. It will use a low carbon hybrid system, that combines traditional diesel power with electric battery power. The system will lead to a reduction in fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions. It will be built to accommodate 150 passengers, 23 cars or two HGVs, with a service speed of nine knots.

"This announcement is a real vote of confidence in shipbuilding on the Clyde and a significant step forward for Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited," said Ms Sturgeon. "This investment not only provides support to the shipbuilding industry on the Clyde, but also underlines our commitment to investing in cutting edge technology to make our ferries sustainable and reliable."

"This is the first major order for Ferguson Marine Engineering and is fantastic news for the business, its workforce and for Port Glasgow. It is the third vessel to be built in a four vessel program," said Jim McColl, Chairman and CEO of Clyde Blowers Capital. "By creating jobs for the former Ferguson's workers and securing the site at Port Glasgow, we have ensured that the experience in the workforce which built the last two hybrid ferries will be used to build this vessel."

The vessel has been designed and procured for service under the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services contract between the Scottish Ministers and CalMac Ferries Ltd, which has been extended to run until 30 September 2016.

The two hybrid ferries previously constructed at the yard, the MV Hallaig and the MV Lochinvar, are currently in service with Caledonian MacBrayne.

The MV Hallaig was launched in December 2012, operates on the Sconser-Raasay route and entered service in October 2013.

The MV Lochinvar was launched in May 2013 and operates on the Tarbert-Portavadie route.

The 499 dwt hybrid ferries have a length of 43.5 m, breadth of 12.2 m and draft of 1.73 m. They can carry 150 passengers, 23 cars and two 44 ton trucks.

They are powered by three Volvo Penta Marine D13 MG (diesel electric hybrid) engines and lithium ion batteries with two 375 kW permanent magnet motors coupled to two Voith 16 R5 EC/90-1 propulsion units.

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